Sunday, February 25, 2018
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 main bathing day

No boats for journalists for news coverage 

Those lensmen, videographers and others who are eagerly waiting to take snaps or  film picturesque and eye-filling running scenes on the Ghats will be in for a big jolt when told that photography of all types will not be permitted. So photographers, clarify the position from the administration as to whether the ban is total or   will be restrictive. Commissioner Devesh Chaturvedi has clearly stated : We will adhere to the orders of the High Court. The International media will also be informed about the guidelines.’ Mr Chaturvedi has said, ‘We need to obey the rules as in the past the saints have protested against indecent photography’. This is not all. The commissioner has also revealed that journalists will not be allowed to use boats for coverage. 

Why this ban on photography? The story goes back to 2001 when two Indian news magazines published pictures of a Mexican woman who had stripped nude to bathe in the Sangam  during the Kumbh Mela that year. This led to the Allahabad High Court banning photography of nude sadhus and women bathing on the main days. The order also restricted photography within 200 metres  of the Sangam.
However, what the authorities concerned may not have foreseen is that 2001 is not 2013 in respect of technology which has made much headway during the last 11 years. As  a photographer,  who took one of the  controversial photographs 11 years ago, says: ‘Banning photography completely is not the answer’ because these days ‘the cameras are anyway capable of taking  clear pictures  even from far away’. And this is what some of the ambitious photographers may do. In that case, the Administration might be advised  to issue orders that if any photograph of the ghats is flashed in any newspaper or magazine the publishers  would  face legal action. But if a photograph is published in an obscure magazine in some distant corner of the globe. Who will launch the legal proceedings?

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